Tell us a little bit about you. What do you do and where you work?
I’m Cameron Redding and I am a Senior Associate Attorney with Anna M. Torres & Associates, P.C. We are a small boutique law firm and we specialize in elder law, guardianships, estate planning and family business planning. You can find more information about our firm at www.annatorreslaw.com. I primarily focus on the family business planning and estate planning. In my “second career,” I do philanthropic and non-profit work with several organizations here in town. I also work with my family managing our family business interests. I like to stay busy!
Where did you go to school?
I grew up here in San Antonio and I went to Saint Mary’s Hall from kindergarten through high school. Following in family tradition, I attended Baylor University for my undergraduate degree and continued on to law school at Baylor Law School.
What drove you to choose your specific career path?
It was a very long and winding path. My undergraduate degree is in Art History and Public Relations. During my honors program I had to write a thesis and I chose to write about art that was stolen by the Nazis during World War II. I was very interested in the art and then I became really fascinated in the legal side of things. When I considered continuing my education, law school sounded like fun. It actually wasn’t that fun but it brought me here, which I really enjoy. I get to meet really interesting people and hear some pretty unique stories.
What was the deciding factor or factors that brought you back to San Antonio as opposed to going elsewhere, after college?
I never really considered going anywhere else. I had this strange, unjustified love for San Antonio. It made sense to me. I have a lot of really great family and social connections and people I know in the business community. I’ve been able to do a lot of things at 28 that would have taken me years to accomplish had I started over fresh somewhere else.
Can you expand on the non-profit organizations that you work with and do you hold leadership positions within these?
I sit on the Board of ZOOMERS so I’m very involved with the San Antonio Zoo. Additionally, I chaired Zoo-La-La! last year and am doing so again this year. It is a lot of fun and the San Antonio Zoo is an incredible organization to work with. I was on the Board of the Ghost Light Society until it was recently dissolved and taken in internally by the Tobin Center. I was a founding member of that organization and it was an incredible project to be a part of. I worked with the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo this year on one of their committees. This was my first time working with the rodeo and it was a great adventure. I’m involved with so many things I have to keep a very detailed calendar. That is the only way I can do everything and keep a straight schedule.
How do you manage your work/life balance?
In some sense, I feel like I don’t because it all just blends together for me. That is kind of the ideal though, because it doesn’t feel like I leave my job and go do something else. It is all connected together. I’m weird in that I keep my calendar on paper. It requires a lot of effort, and color coding, to keep my schedule straight and know when and where I need to be.
Are you working on anything from a personal development stand point?
I’m always thinking of ways I can improve. It took me the first couple of years of working to get to a good balance of taking care of myself, eating healthy, and exercising. The bigger thing for me is making sure I meet my priorities. I have always been very passionate about traveling and that is not something I’ve done a lot of in these last three years. That was a major shift me this year in making sure I am setting aside time and saying no to some things!
Do you have a mentor that has helped you as a young professional?
I have a huge network of people that have been incredibly generous with their time. I do fall back to my grandmother who is a pretty extraordinary person. She’s very quirky and eccentric. She struggled and had nothing during the depression era. She was able to put herself through school to earn a Phd and build a very successful business during a time when women didn’t do those things. She has always been an incredible mentor to me as I see all the things she’s done.
What are some of the benefits, you see, about being a young professional in our city?
It’s such an exciting time right now in San Antonio. There’s a real sense of so many new and exciting things happening and you have the ability to get in on the ground level. There are a lot of new projects and organizations that are going to become established and it will be so fun to look back in 30 years when we started these things.
Shifting to the other spectrum, what are some challenges you feel like our demographic experiences in San Antonio?
It’s the flip side of what we just discussed. Things are so new that we do lack established support networks and services. Also, it’s still a pretty small community of young professionals so it can be a bit hard to find other young professionals to bond and work with. It can even be hard to find mentors because it’s just not something that people are used to doing.
There are a lot of new organizations for young professionals. What are your thoughts on how we can maintain long-term sustainability with these organizations?
I can tell you that the ZOOMERS Board has really spent a lot of time trying to figure out exactly what that formula is. I think what is hard is that while it is all fun and exciting to start something new, you still need to set up the rules and regulations, budgeting, and getting planning down on paper so it can go forward. I don’t know if anyone has really found that right balance or formula, where it’s exciting and people join, but at the same time being a concrete benefit to its host organization. I think that ZOOMERS may have found the formula and we are rolling out some really neat things in the coming year so we’ll see how it all works.
Tells us more about Zoo-La-La! What is it and where can people get tickets to attend?
Zoo-La-La! is the Zoo’s take on a “taste of” fundraiser. We have a whole host of restaurants that have been incredibly generous to donate their time and delicious food and they serve samples of their featured dishes. We have wonderful beer and wine sponsors, music, entertainment, animal interactions and educational seminars. It is a big party all over the grounds of the zoo. This is the twenty first year for this event. Last year we introduced a VIP party area known as “ZIP”- Zoo Important Person – and it really took off. We haven’t released tickets yet and we’ve already had more inquiries than tickets available for that area. This year’s theme is “Year of the Monkey” so it will be a Chinese New Year themed party and it’s going to be a fun. You can find tickets at www.sazoo-aq.org.
Is it an evening or day event and what should attendees plan to wear?
It’s pretty casual but attendees for the ZIP event do tend to dress up a little more considering it is in the evening. The event is May 19th during the hotter time so you’ll see a lot of shorts, sun dresses and themed attire.
What advice would you offer to a young profession who might just be starting their career and are interested in coming into the young professional realm here in San Antonio?
The best advice that I was ever given on this topic was that when you are starting to get serious about your career, find something that you are really passionate about outside your career. That’s where you’ll make the deepest friendships and make the best connections. A lot of times people join the young professional network in the area just to have cocktails and “network” but I feel that it is much more meaningful when you give your time to what you are passionate about. Eventually you’ll meet other professionals, of all ages, there that are passionate about the same things. You’ll end up getting a lot more out of it. The networking happy hours are great but sometimes it seems like these are superficial connections.
What is one thing that most people don’t know about you?
Most people don’t know about my love for the work that I do with our family ranch. I am very in-the-city and heavily engaged in the arts and culture community in the city. But I grew up living on a ranch where we ran cattle, farmed, hunted and fished. I think people are just surprised because it is not as an obvious part of my life now as it was growing up. I am incredibly lucky to have a ranch not too far from the city so it’s nice to get out there and get back to my roots.In Young Professional, Spotlight, San AntonioTags Anna M. Torres & Associates, Baylor Law School, ZOOMERS, San Antonio Zoo, Ghost Light Society, Tobin Center